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Phil Floraday: Bavarian Bookends, Part II

It’s funny how history has a way of repeating itself. Last June I sampled a BMW 135i and a BMW 760Li back-to-back and had a chance to reflect on the entire BMW range. Over the past weekend I sampled our Four Seasons BMW 750Li as well as a tiny BMW, but this time it was a BMW motorcycle.

Last year, the 7-series I drove was the oldest vehicle in BMW’s line and now it’s one of the freshest products. The BMW F 800 GS motorcycle I took for a ride on Saturday morning is also rather new to the U.S. market and it’s quite similar to its four-wheeled cousins.

After spending any amount of time in a BMW automobile, it’s the little things that really stick with you. For example, it’s basically a given the engine, transmission, and chassis will be sublime in a modern BMW, so you can notice things like the high-definition navigation display, the soft leather seats, or the soft-close doors on a new 7-series.

The same holds true for two-wheeled BMWs. I immediately loved the gearbox on the F 800 GS, but then quickly shifted my attention to the digital display that reminded me which gear I was in. For those of you who have never ridden a motorcycle before, it’s worth pointing out some modern motorcycles don’t even offer actual gas gauges. The particular bike I sampled came equipped with heated grips, antilock brakes, and even had a plug for heated clothing or powering a navigation unit. Yes, these features have been slowly creeping into the motorcycle scene for a while, but this bike is capable of everything from commuting to crossing the Sahara. Incredible.

If you’ve driven a 3-series, it’s hard to imagine actually buying anything else in the class. That’s pretty much how I felt after sampling the F 800 GS. There are certainly a lot of other bikes that would work well for everything from commuting to crossing a desert, but few would be as comfortable or as posh as the BMW. Much like the 3-series, the F 800 GS costs far more than I actually want to pay for it, but I have a hard time imagining I’d regret the purchase if I decided to buy the bike. Kudos to BMW for offering everything from dirt bikes to luxurious limousines and making each one a great product.

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0-60 MPH:

4.6 SECS

EPA MPG:

15 City / 22 Hwy

Horse Power:

400 @ 5500